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Effect of RMT on Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by a cessation of airflow for more than 10 seconds, leading to arousal and awakening. Hypopnea is a less severe form marked by a greater than 30% reduction of airflow. It is caused by anatomic and/or neuromuscular dysfunction, and is more prevalent with advanced age. OSA and hypopneas lead to transient reductions in blood oxygen levels causing arousal and disruption of normal sleep architecture. The resulting sleep disorders impair:

  • Daytime Activities
  • Cognitive Function
  • Work Performance
  • Quality of Life (QOl)

In addition, they can cause hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Today’s blog post looks at how OSA can be improved in order to lead to better prognoses for patients as well as an increase in their quality of life. IMT, for example, was tested to see if it can cause an improvement of OSA in patients with mild to moderate forms of the disorder. Let’s take a closer look at the study below.

Key Findings

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by reduced or stopped airflow, leading to awakening, reductions in blood oxygen levels and disturbed sleep architecture.
  • OSA leads to impaired daytime activities, cognitive function, work performance, quality of life (QOL) and can cause hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
  • 6 weeks of respiratory muscle training (RMT) reduced awakenings, arousals, and limb movements.

Patient Impact

RMT effectively improves sleep quantity and quality in people with OSA.

Study Methods

A wide variety of variables were addressed throughout the course of this study, including:

  • Sleep (duration, quality, architecture, and apnea hypopnea index)
  • Blood pressure (systolic and diastolic pressures)
  • Plasma catecholamine content (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine)
  • T lymphocyte populations (pro-inflammatory Th1, Th2, and Th17 helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells, and anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells)

All of the above were assessed in patients with mild to moderate OSA before and after six weeks of daily IMT. IMT included 30 breaths per day at 75% PImax for six weeks. Results were compared to a low intensity control group.

Study Results

IMT resulted in significant reduction of awakening after sleep onset, reduction in arousal per hour or sleep and limb movement, and improvement of sleep quality. Furthermore, IMT lead to increased PImax and significantly lower blood pressure.

Respiratory muscle training using IMT significantly improves sleep quantity and quality in persons with OSA, reduces apnea and lowers blood pressure.

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